Creating a Space for RA to Exist Is Not Easy

Receiving a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is not something anyone really wants to experience. It's debilitating and causes so many other health problems including heart problems, lung problems, and more.

I don't want RA in my life

When I talk about having RA and these sort of side effects, the number one thing that people say to me is: "Well, you have to just create a space for RA to exist in your life." On paper, this sounds ideal; something that is attainable.

But I have found that, in my experience, it's much more difficult to actually achieve this sentiment. Making space for RA to exist in your life is so much more difficult than people make it out to be, mostly because I don't want RA to be in my life in the first place!

How I interpret the meaning of "make space"

It might be helpful to nail down what exactly "making space" means first.

My understanding of what this means is that you're supposed to accept having RA in a way that doesn't negatively affect your life.

It's also creating a mental situation where you recognize how RA affects your life and, at the same time, you redirect those feelings and thoughts to some form of contentment (I hesitate to say positivity because my bias/thinking on this might come across too forcefully). Some form of "Well, this is just how it is and there's not really much I can do about it."

Well. Yeah, there isn't anything I can do about having RA, but that doesn't inspire feelings of acceptance and contentment in me. In fact, it makes me incensed and sad.

I feel like I'm fighting against my RA

Part of that, I guess, is that I'm a person who always wants to fix something. I'm definitely a Type A, productive, always-doing-something type of person that doesn't do well with uncertainty and things outside of my control.

So, having a chronic illness is not ideal for my personality, and maybe part of this sentiment of "creating space" is about reframing that mindset so I can be comfortable with it.

But, what happens when I don't want to be comfortable with having RA?

Does that mean I'm committing to a life of illness?

I do feel like I'm fighting against my RA (and all the other chronic illnesses that seem to be popping up lately). Perhaps there is something deleterious there, in constantly going against having RA.

But, there is some part of me that feels like creating a space for RA to exist in my life is a form of defeat. It feels like I'm committing to a life of illness. And even if that's true, I don't want it to be at all.

I don't want more complications

I'm not so sure why this is just hitting me all of a sudden, especially when I've been diagnosed with RA for three years (coming up in October).

Maybe it's becoming more and more prominent for me since I'm having more and more health problems (see my thyroid-related articles). It just feels like around each corner, there's going to be another health problem.

And I don't want to create a space for that to happen in my life.

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